The Australian Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has defended his deputy's call for Australia to send Sri Lankan asylum seekers back to their country without assessing their refugee claims.
The Opposition leader says such a measure would help deny the people smugglers a product to sell.
"Sri Lanka had a civil war. The civil war is long over," he told reporters in Geelong on Monday.
"That's why it's important to have a robust policy in place to stop the boats."
Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop said the Australian government should strike a deal with Sri Lanka to immediately transfer all asylum seekers from the country back before they set foot on Australian soil.
She said the rejection rate for Sri Lankan asylum seekers is high, with most proving to be economic migrants and many also attracting negative ASIO security assessments.
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